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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:55 am 
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Location: ny,ny USA
I'm in my 4th year of serious cycling with first 2 as a racer and i think i just discovered how important is to train a lot for speed/torque/fast cadence around 95-110 by using the small ring much more often .not only it saves a lot of muscle fibers on a daily training plan but in the long run i have the feeling it's much better. I train now at least 3 day on 39/ 17,16,15,14,13,12 and 1-2 days only i switch on the 53ring .What do the more experienced WW THINK OF THIS ?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:36 pm 
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I dunno. I am still trying to sort this out myself. I think that you really need to do both in training: stomp ridiculously big gears, and spin like a sewing machine.
Then you do what seems most efficient at the time in a real race.


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Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:36 pm 


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:13 pm 
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I think its meaningless. I train everyday on the big ring and it doesnt matter. Intensity and recovery does.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:33 pm 
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Train on the big ring when you are trainig for power and muscle work outs and train on the small ring for more of an aerobic training.
Ultimately sprint training, flat fast rides and TT on the big ring and hill work, slower rides on andaerobic work outs on the small ring.

Note that the gearing you chose based on the ring sizes you have and the cassette you have might overlap so a 39x11 is almost identical to a 53x15

Ultimately train in the gears that work best for you.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:20 am 
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+1 on what devinci says. The issue is not the ring you are in, it is the load that you are placing on your body that effects a training response.

The basic idea is to complete periodic testing to determine your fitness level, then to develop and execute a training plan at a prescribed load to increase that fitness. To do that, you will utilize a wide variety of training workouts to invoke a systemic response. For sure, pedal speed workouts should be part of that, but so should big-gear work.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:49 am 
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Yep actual chainring/cog sizes are largely irrelevant. Lookup gear charts to get an idea of the "gear inches" for the relative ratio.

As Geoff and devinci have mentioned it's all down to adaptation from a given stimuli. For cadence - generally speaking self-selected cadence is found to be most efficient for most people. Some studies have found some efficiency from low cadence efforts (80rpm and below). Personally I advocate self-selected and just aim for the right watts.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:57 am 
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And FWIW I do a lot of my sprint training in very low gears (39/19).

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:27 am 
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I'm wondering why would you train for sprints in such a small gear when training should stimulate the action as closely as possible. :noidea:

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:11 am 
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It is specific to the requirements. For a start sprints rely on maximizing your neuromuscular power (NP). Strength is NOT the limiter, rather the ability to recruit NP requires "programming" of the CNS to fire as many muscles as it can as quickly as it can and with much force as it can.

If you try to sprint in too high a gear it is possible that you will not maximize these contractile forces, you can grind away at the 53x11 but its not really making you faster. By using a low gear you ensure that the muscles contract as fast a possible by "spinning out". The same effect could be done using larger gears going down hill, drafting etc.

Whilst thinking of sprinters and to the extreme of the scale, track sprinters, strength is not the key factor. Being able to apply a meaningful amount of power at ~150 rpm is. Once again, taking it to the extreme scale the most "strongest" weightlifters make poor sprinters.

Cavendish is a "pro example" of someone who can spin like a mutha******.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:40 am 
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I have done sprint training in a 34x27 but that was uphill. A tip for producing really high peak power is to use a smaller gear.

A reason to not do sprint training in say a 53x14 if that is what you normally sprint in is if training alone you wont have the competition or the bunch towing you into the finish at speed to attain the same cadences you will see in a race.

When training a female sprinter for track nationals on a fast indoor track on our slow outdoor track I had her on an 81" gear to recreate the leg speed and power she would use on a 90" gear on the boards.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:43 pm 
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The alternative, of course, being motorpaced sprinting.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:52 pm 
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Unless riding behind the bigger Chinese women you don't get a perfect draft (like they do behind me on the Moto) so we use the Moto to get them up to speed or to do Moto accelerations where they chase the Moto. Comparing power files from these efforts and windouts (just sit behind Moto till spun out) we are getting the preparation right.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:59 pm 
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Right. I am speaking of motorpacing whereby the riders come around the motor at speed.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:08 pm 
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This is a really interesting question. I have a problem responding to constant changes in pace during races. I am also lucky to have the opportunity train with a friend who rides for Saxo Bank when he is at home and I mentioned this to him. His training is racing oriented and he explained to me the importance of agility and the effective utility of 'small' gears (I agree that the use of the small ring does not always imply the use of small gears but the forces applied to small ring riding are somewhat different to those in the bigger plate regardless of any similarity in ratio - this is a separate discussion.)

He showed me how to train effectively in the smallest rings and why this is important for responding on climbs and to developing leg-speed. We ended up doing fartlek repeats up a steep gradient - without changing from the smallest gear. It was hell. I was desperate to change down gears but this was forbidden - I was cursing the little Ba***rd. Apparently, he performed specific exercises like this during his stager year - he is incredibly agile and actually mentioned using Contador as a yardstick.

I've now integrated this small gear purgatory into my training - I can already smell the yellow jersey! :)

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:49 pm 
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Well in this clip Tyler Farrar simulates the final sprint behind the moto.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVkpKjacIZs

He doing 78kph or 48 mph.

He must be either in 53x11 doing 127 rpm or 53x12 doing 138 rpm or 53x13 doing 149 rpm

This is one phase of sprint training which closely simulates a 100 meter sprint

I don't think hes doing 150 rpm in this one.

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I never took drugs to improve my performance at any time. I will be willing to stick my finger into a polygraph test if anyone with big media pull wants to take issue. If you buy a signed poster now it will not be tarnished later. --Graeme Obree


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Posted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:49 pm 


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